Let’s Talk About Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) held a virtual breakfast meeting this past Friday to tackle how to lead Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D, E, & I) in the workplace. John Evans, a BGCMB Board Member and an Executive Recruiter for Randstad, organized the meeting, which was led by three D, E, & I leaders who are also BGCM Board Members. Jamila Webb, Audit Partner at Grant Thornton LLP, Nicholas (Nik) Tatum, North America Controller for Under Armour and Kenneth (Ken) Tsui, CPA, and formerly with Stanley Black & Decker, have played a significant role in their companies to further diversity.
Over 250 people registered for the breakfast where each leader shared their experience as an inclusive leader in their workplace’s efforts to ensure racial minorities are represented, and their careers are furthered. Tatum was trained in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at his previous job and is currently the Co-chair of Under Armour’s Black Employees Achieving Together Teammate Resource Group. The group focuses on culture, commerce, career, and community. “To begin and sustain a conversation about D, E, & I at work, you have to focus on three things; being empathetic, courageous, and curious,” said Tatum. He also said that to reach equity, you need to close existing gaps, “without equity, diversity is like a plant you don’t water. You need to fertilize the new talent.”
Tsui started the first Asian Employee Resource Group for Stanley Black & Decker, which grew to three groups across the United States. He quoted from a McKinsey study that found that companies with diverse board members experienced 14% higher profits than those with less diverse boards. Tsui went on to say, “it’s important that we analyze data to measure the effectiveness in D, E, & I programs to make sure they are benefiting the people they are meant to help.”
Webb was the last to speak and mentioned how isolating it was for her to be the only black employee in a previous employment. She is now one of seven National Executive Sponsors for the African American and Allies Business Resource Group at Grant Thornton LLP. It’s because of her own experience that she is passionate about reaching out to diverse talent. She said, “It is very important to seek out great talent and mentor them even if they don’t look like you.”
President and CEO of BGCMB, Jeff Breslin, attended the breakfast and said, “A true commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion begins with at the top of every organization. Our staff and members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Baltimore are incredibly grateful that our Board of Directors not only believes in equity, but they work hard every day for it to the benefit of our kids. Ken, Jamila, and Nik did what great leaders do – they shared honestly, openly, and inspired others to follow their lead.”
All three speakers agreed that the D, E, & I movement has momentum right now, so it is the perfect time to start these discussions in the workplace, even if it’s difficult. They discussed that people may be afraid to speak up because they are concerned they will say the wrong thing. The leaders assured that it is ok to make mistakes because people will appreciate the effort, and it is an opportunity to learn.